By: José Niño
2020 offers an interesting set of opportunities for gun owners in Ohio.
The state has become one of the hotspots for the gun control debate ever since the Dayton massacre of August 4, 2019 shook the state.
Since then, gun control has been one of the hottest issues debated in Ohio. Due to Republican domination of all branches of government, gun control has moved slowly. Nonetheless, Republicans are not paragons of principle of pro-Second Amendment views, with Gov. Mike DeWine signaling he was in favor of a red flag gun confiscation bill right after the shooting took place.
Gun owners were able to make enough noise to get DeWine to somewhat backtrack from this bill, however, there are still several gun control bills pending in the Ohio legislature, and DeWine is working to propose a more “reasonable” version of the red flag bill at the moment. The good news is that several lawmakers have also countered by introducing some pro-gun bills in the legislature.
The Journal-News highlighted some prominent bills that are still being debated:
On the anti-gun side, there are bills that ban bump stocks (SB 223, SB 62), establish universal background checks that subject all firearms transactions to arbitrary government intrusions (SB 183, HB317), raise the age to 21 to buy all firearms (SB 182), enact magazine bans (HB 647), give local jurisdictions the power to regulate firearms (HB 319), implement red flag gun confiscation orders (HB 316), and establish mandatory “safe” storage orders (HB 240).
Despite this daunting list, for pro-gunners, there is reason to be hopeful. Some bills to loosen gun control restrictions include SB 317, that would reduce state-sponsored training requirements for law-abiding school employees carrying concealed firearms at schools, (SB 237, HB 381, to implement stand-your-ground, so law-abiding citizens can defend themselves against criminal threats. and HI 178, the state’s Constitutional Carry bill, that would make it so any lawful individual can carry a firearm without having to ask their government permission to do so.
Although there is some reason for optimism, several pro-gun organizations are rather measured in their prospects for change in Ohio.
Brenden Boudreau, the Director of Field Operations at the National Association for Gun Rights, offered his take on Ohio’s Constitutional Carry bill:
“State Representative Ron Hood is a stalwart champion of the Second Amendments who’s been fighting for Constitutional Carry in Ohio since the 1990s. It’s too bad that he is term-limited at the end of this year, and with anti-gun Governor Mike DeWine more focused on passing ‘Red Flag’ in Ohio, it is unlikely to see Constitutional Carry become a reality in the Buckeye State before the end of 2020.”
In sum, the chances of passing pro-gun reforms in the Buckeye State don’t look so good.
Ohio is a middling state for gun rights. It is currently ranked in 23rd place according to Guns & Ammo magazine’s 2019 Best States for Gun Owners rankings.
Although there are pro-gun bills on deck, Second Amendment activists in Ohio should not become complacent and assume that Republican control of the state government will turn these bills into law. Restoring the Second Amendment will require hard-nosed activism no matter how we slice it.
José Niño is a Venezuelan American freelance writer based in Austin, Texas. Sign up for his mailing list here. Contact him via Facebook, Twitter, or email him at email@example.com. Get his e-book, The 10 Myths of Gun Control, here.